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Short-tailed Hawk by Bryan Pfeiffer

“Short” Things for the Solstice

Photo: Short-tailed Hawk / Everglades National Park / 24 February 2009

December 21, 2020  |  by Bryan Pfeiffer  |  50 comments  | 

On this shortest day of a long and dark year, I bring you solstice greetings expressed in “short” things in nature.

Here you’ll find birds, a plant and a couple of dragonflies — all with shortness in their names. Only two butterflies in North America include “short” in their common names: Short-tailed Swallowtail and Short-tailed Skipper. I regret that I have yet to see either.

Even so, because butterflies were such a huge part of my year, I’ll bring you instead White-striped Longtail, which I photographed in Texas in February. Consider it a tribute to the longer days ahead.

Onward to the light.

  1. Peter Peltz says:

    My early treat this morning was viewing a bird feeder with sunflower seeds below a Luna crabapple in Hanover visited by Tufted Titmouse to a Redpoll and many more – perhaps straddling both sides of the solstice.

  2. Sue Chickering says:

    I so love seeing your incredible shots and I earn so much from each little detail. Out our way, we have a lovely flock of evening grosbeaks obbligato up our sumac and bobcat and coyote tracks to enjoy. Sending love and best wishes for the coming year to you, Ruth and Odie! XO

  3. CarolWS says:

    Thanks Bryan. One of the best things I have been telling myself for 63 years( we’ll probably more like 55 years) that I love having a birthday today is that It is the day that starts our new year into the light!!!

  4. Usha says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful blog and pictures ! I enjoy it very much ! Learn a lot about nature and our wonderful world. thank you

  5. Rita Pitkin says:

    Thanks Bryan. Always such a treasure from you. Solstice – The BEST holiday ever!

  6. Al Martinez says:

    I thought, at first, the moth was a frog sitting on some bug. Then I re-looked. Great photos, thank you so much. enjoying your blog.

  7. georgeann kuhl says:

    Hi Bryan, Thank you again for the wondrous peace, prose and poetry from your hand and eyes! Joyous New Year to you! georgeann

  8. And last night we viewed (through Zoom and an 18″ telescope in Calif.) Saturn just a SHORT distance from Jupiter.

    Happy to know Bryan’s Short and long reports come together more often than the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter.


  9. Susan Cloutier says:

    Short and long of it is this this wish for you and Ruth and your pup to enjoy the year ahead. Thank you for sharing your adventures in your posts.

  10. Neat idea illustrated by excellent photos — well done.

  11. Kate Kruesi says:

    So clever, Bryan! Love it. And that “long tail”! Wonder what the function is. . .

  12. Linda Wells says:

    Beautiful photos Bryan. This brings a bit of peace to my world. Thank you for sharing it. Happy Holidays to you

  13. Stevie Spaulding says:

    So clever, as always. It’s always a good day when I see a post from you in my inbox. Thank you.

  14. Sue Bradbury says:

    Wonderful photos – many thanks!

  15. Ruth Coppersmith says:

    Thanks Bryan! Happy coming of the light.
    Ruth C.

  16. Anthony Zemba says:

    Awesome photographs once again. Your blogs always inspire me to get back outdoors

  17. andrew Nemethy says:

    Bryan, glad you bugged us and birded us. Happy longest day of the year, now let’s get lighter. And best to you and Ruth. Come visit my trail system for a socially distanced ski or snowshoe. We GOT TRACKS GALORE! Cheers.

  18. Liz Thompson says:

    Yes, we came up short with the clouds and the conjunction, but this made it all OK. Thanks, Bryan!

  19. Christine says:

    Love your posts. Happy Solstice, conjunction and critters both short and long.

  20. Susan Titterton says:

    Thank you, Bryan. The light is growing from now on.
    And, hello to Sandal whom I worked with at Union Elementary.

  21. Amy Lake says:

    And Happy Solstice to you Bryan! You are keeping me grounded this holiday season, especially with your previous post! Purchased two of the Vermont books as gifts! Thanks for the recommendation. Can’t wait! Wishing you and Ruth all the joy that nature provides for us this time of year. We are taking it much slower this year and enjoying it!

  22. Janet Uteg says:

    Your posts give me so much joy! Thank you.

  23. John Snell says:

    As always, and I mean that, what you write is so worth reading and then there are the great photos too. Thank you!

  24. Ann Cooper says:

    The long and the short of it is that you came up with a marvelous grouping for the Solstice.

  25. Sandal Cate says:

    Short and ever so sweet of you to do this, Bryan! Sure wish we were able to see the Grand Conjunction in central VT but alas the clouds took over! Thanks for your great love of nature and ways that you share it! Hope to cross paths in the healthier New Year!

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